It is undeniable that the United States and the United Kingdom dominate the silver screen. However, especially in recent years, South Africa has increasingly…
Back in 2011, Game of Thrones and I got on swimmingly. But as the seasons went on, we slowly drifted apart. I can’t say if it was the unnecessary violence against women, the destruction of Sansa Stark’s character or the heroisation of Tyrion Lannister — but, as in many relationships, by the fifth year we were unrecognisable to each other.
Our parting was not amicable.
While I had turned my back on Thrones, though, my friends, family, and seemingly the entire world maintained their love for it. And so every year, for ten long weeks, I have to be reminded of the love I once had, now lost forever.
I have to hear about how the show is thriving without me. I have to watch Dan Benioff and DB Weiss act smug like what they’re doing is better than the source material. I have to be reminded that Winds of Winter may not be released in my lifetime.
But this isn’t my first rodeo, and I have developed a few coping mechanisms I thought I would share with others suffering as I am. You are not alone.
Trying to avoid the show’s story so as not to be potentially spoiled for the books is futile. If you are on the internet (and since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you are) then you will hear about the major deaths. Save yourself the anxiety and rip the plaster off.
Note: doing so will likely make you angry. Make sure you’re alone. When you read something especially egregious, scream. As loud and as long as you need. Then never let it get to you again.
Ground yourself with the books
Every Sunday, remind yourself that the books exist. They are not going anywhere. If you own them, hold them. Feel them. Smell them.
Sleep with them under your pillow. Put a chain through one, wear it as a necklace. Let its energy flow through you.
Remind yourself: These are real. These are real. These are real.
Try not to cry.
Positively reinforce yourself
When reminded of what once was, it is easy to slip into a funk. Don’t.
Keep a piece of paper with “The Tyrells are alive” written on it. Or a drawing of Book Sansa. Or, heck, just a bag of sweets. Every time you see someone mention something hurtful about the show, pull out the paper or eat a sweet. Slowly, what once made you sad will now be associated with happy thoughts.
(Or those happy thoughts will bring back negative emotions. I only took first semester psychology, and do not know.)
Leave the room when people talk about the show
When you are in a room of people discussing Game of Thrones, it can go one of only two ways. Either you are forced to sit awkwardly silent, smiling and nodding — or someone asks if you watch and you’ll have to say that you don’t.
You do not need the negative energy of someone hounding you with questions as to why not. Instead, just get up and leave the room. Keep walking. Learn about your city, meet a baker, fall in love. Return when it is safe.
Use the GoT community to your advantage
Find another show to fill the space Game of Thrones used to take up. Watch it every week at the same time as Thrones. Are people waking up at 3am in your timezone? Then so are you: this is community and you are allowed to enjoy it.
When someone asks why you are tired, say you woke up at two am. When they ask if it was for Game of Thrones, get up and leave the room.